Food & Recipes

Nebraska’s Favorite Food Is Runza And If You Haven’t Tried One, You’re Missing Out

Long popular in Nebraska, this tasty food is making waves across the rest of the country.

If you don’t know what a runza is, it’s okay — neither did I and I love food! Chances are that you wouldn’t have eaten one before unless you are from Nebraska or have friends or family there. This tasty dish with a rich history in the state may just end up on your snacking bucket list!

A runza is a tasty pocket of yeast dough stuffed with seasoned ground beef, cabbage or sauerkraut and onions, explained, adding that some versions throw in shredded cheese. Due to its compact size, the runza is the perfect on-the-go meal which has become a staple food for those in the Midwest.

Sometimes called a “bierock”, the word “runza” comes from  the German word “runsa,” which translates into “bun shape.” The dish hails from the Central and Eastern Europe who immigrated to the Great Plains and needed a warm and filling but inexpensive meal. (The runza is also similar to the pierogi, which is a savory meat and cabbage filled dough pocket.)

Runzas are so popular in Nebraska that there is a whole fast food chain called Runza, dedicated to selling countless pockets of deliciousness to the masses. The first Runza opened in Omaha in 1949 as a family-run business.Since then, the chain has grown to an estimated 85 locations, primarily in the state.

If you’re not anywhere near a Runza location, the good thing is you can make the Nebraska comfort food yourself in your very own kitchen. Blogger Dumplings and Doughnuts shares a special recipe (all from scratch!) from her grandmother that she promises to be “what a non-fast-food, from-scratch runza is supposed to taste like.”

Dumplings and Doughnuts

For those looking for a quicker, easy-to-bake recipe, blogger The Kitchenarium might have just the right one for you. Instead of baking the dough from scratch, she uses a frozen bread dough. With just 15 minutes of prep and an hour-and-a-half of cook time, you’ll have toasty runzas in a flash.

The Kitchenarium

I have to admit, these savory treats sure do sound tempting. Who’s ready to try one (or two)?